Yesterday there was a debate in Nairobi on the UK’s referendum on EU membership, on which there will be a vote in the UK (and Gibraltar) on June 23. Europe is the second largest destination for Kenya’s exports (after the rest of Africa) and the UK is second in Europe with about Kshs 40 billion of exports from Kenya, slightly behind Netherlands (a destination for flowers). Overall, the UK is the fourth largest destination of Kenya’s exports (after Uganda, Netherlands, the US), and it imports about the same amount from the UK (Kshs 42 billion).
The debate was sponsored by the St. Paul’s Property Trust and had Aly Khan Satchu (as the moderator), Graham Shaw (Brexiter) arguing for Britain to exit) and Chris Foot (Remainer) arguing for Britain to remain in the EU).
Reasons to BREXIT
- If #BREXIT doesn’t happen now, Britain will beholden to unelected decision-makers in Brussels for the next 40 years. Other countries will soon have similar votes.
- The (bureaucratic) EU has 5 laws on pillow cases, 109 on pillows, and 12,000 on milk.
- Germany bailed out Greece, and the EU will soon have to bail it out again (Italy is also shaky)
- EU laws limit Britain’s ability to get top talent (e.g from Kenya) as they have to give preference to the EU states.
- Under the EU, the production of a country is controlled (they may have to destroy fishing boats, and Portugal’s wine industry was destroyed by the EU).
- Britain will have to renegotiate trade deals with 28 (and maybe 32) countries, but probably has no interest in trading with 10 of them.
Points against BREXIT
- The great Winston Churchill wrote a book titled “Europe Unite”.
- 56% of Britain exports are to the EU, – don’t BREXIT.
- The last time the UK thrived outside the EU, it had a protectionist market called the colonial empire.
- There has not been much discussion about the positives of being in the EU – only the negatives – and that is not enough reason to leave.
- Impact on Barclays Premier League (BPL)? : Arsene Wenger (Arsenal manager) asked Britain to stay in the EU (which is a huge global export, but how many in Europe watch the BPL ?).
- The world is moving towards integration (e.g The East African Community).
- The rise of nationalism in Europe is a concern.
- Britain at 16%, is Europe’s biggest export market, ahead of the US (14%), and China (8%).
Also see this forum, with the (then) High Commissioner from Britain to Kenya in which he discussed the relationship between the two countries.